Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships

Research Report

Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships

Lessons Learned from an Evaluation of Aggression Management Programs for Youth


Researcher-practitioner partnerships can meaningfully shape policy and practice. In 2015, the Urban Institute collaborated with the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice to evaluate aggression management programs for medium- and high-risk youth in a Virginia correctional facility. This brief is a case study of that evaluation, discussing the challenges and strengths of the researcher-practitioner partnership and summarizing lessons learned. Key takeaways include the following: (1) ensuring researchers and practitioners are interested in the research question and approach is key to securing buy-in and commitment from both groups; (2) researchers and practitioners approach problems differently, which can produce challenges and successes; (3) researchers and practitioners should each be adaptable to the other’s goals and methods, because practical limitations and challenges are bound to occur and require compromise; and (4) researchers and practitioners must communicate openly and frequently to maintain an effective and collaborative relationship and to complete research projects efficiently and with fidelity.


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